4 Mac & Cheese Hacks That Make Our Favorite Childhood Meal Even Better

Boxed macaroni and cheese is a staple childhood because it's both easy to make, keeping the adults happy, and delicious, thus the kids are happy, too. But, even after we've grown up, we haven't been able to leave its cheesy goodness behind. As it turns out, it's also great for the people who aren't kids anymore but really don't feel like adults.
While there's no shame in just eating a plain box (straight out of the saucepan), mac and cheese is also a great canvas for a million different meals and hacks. We asked the R29 food team for their best tricks to making box mac and cheese even better.
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What's your favorite way to improve the immortal classic? Tell us in the comments.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Easy Bacon 'N Hot Sauce
Senior Food Editor Zoe Bain

This easy tweak takes just five minute to throw together and adds huge flavor pay-off.

Box macaroni and cheese of your choice
Bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1-2 green onions, chopped
Favorite hot sauce, to taste.

1. Prepare macaroni according to box instructions.

2. Mix in your favorite hot sauce (we love Sriracha). Add as much bacon as desired, and top with green onions. Garnish with extra hot sauce as desired.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Goat Cheese & Rosemary
Olivia Harrison, Food News Writer

A two-ingredient addition that makes mac and cheese seem way grown up.

Box white cheddar mac and cheese
Fresh chevre, to flavor
Minced rosemary (garnish)

1. Prepare macaroni according to box instructions.

2. Crumble as much fresh goat cheese as desire. Top with extra goat cheese crumbles and minced rosemary to taste.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
BLT Mac & Cheese
Marshall Bright, Food Writer

Bacon is the star of this recipe, but adding arugula (or any green that tastes good wilted, like kale or even basil) is a great use for produce just a little past its prime.

Ingredients
Box macaroni and cheese of your choice
Bacon Strips, cooked and crumbled
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
Handful arugula or green of your choice
Panko bread crumbs (for garnish)

1.Prepare macaroni according to box instructions.

2. Mix in bacon, tomatoes, and arugula. Top with panko breadcrumbs.
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Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Truffle Mac-Risotto & Cheese
Elizabeth Buxton, Food Writer

Honestly, just putting truffle oil on macaroni and cheese alone is a huge upgrade, but this kicks the earthy goodness into overdrive with the addition of sage and mushrooms.

Ingredients
Box of white cheddar mac and cheese
Tbsp of truffle oil
Cup of cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves or 1 shallot, minced
2 tbsp sage, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp Parmesan, shaved
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook boxed mac and cheese to package instructions. (If butter is optional, then butter is encouraged.)

2. Meanwhile heat butter in sauce pan over medium heat and sauté chopped mushrooms, shallot or garlic, and sage until fragrant and lightly browned (5-8 minutes).

3. Fold mushroom-shallot-sage sauté mixture into cooked mac n' cheese, drizzle with truffle oil, and top with shaved parmesan and any additional salt and pepper.
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